A crematorium bursting at the seams, to celebrate a life that some would say was cut short, and others would say continues in peace. As Shelley said:
“Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep – He hath awakened from the dream of life.”
Beyond tired, still emotional, the train is gently rocking me back home. When Death has put Life into perspective, it’s perhaps only natural that one’s focus becomes the resolution to ‘do more with life’. After all, we none of us know what’s around the corner. But, stop. Is that REALLY what it’s all about? In the world we’re all a part of, we opt to shop without human interaction, yet share many details of our lives with (often faceless) ‘likes’ or ‘followers’; we don’t write letters anymore, but condense news into 140 character sound-bites. But when we finally stop typing or texting or tweeting, will all our virtual friends, to coin Rudin’s phrase, “weep for us and grieve”? Through shared words, thoughts and ideas, will we find we “touched their lives with beauty and simplicity”?
This morning we packed ourselves into the crematorium like sardines – willingly sharing body space with strangers – brought together in loving mourning for our mutual friend Del, who’d touched us all with her beauty, kindness, laughter and sense of fun. In the eulogy, it was noted that a quick trip into the village to pick up a few provisions might take her a couple of hours as she always enjoyed a natter with those she bumped into.
We wept and grieved, and held loved ones to us tightly.
Subdued and reflective, I return home resolving to make sure that I supplement life with the gift of modern IT, rather than get swept along with the virtual intensity of it, in danger of living life vicariously through it. But will it be enough to live life with good intentions? Doesn’t life itself tend to get in the way of good intentions? I search for the silver lining (it’s always there), and find the answer staring back at me. Scrap the ‘intent’, and all that’s left is ‘good life’.
And so, the recent, ceaseless circular argument in my head is over. Literally. Just now. The paralysis of decision-making has ended. I choose the (now obvious) chance to grow, and live connected in the physical reality of life in all its glory and say a prayer of thanks for the opportunity. Spontaneously, in the peripheral vision of my swollen, teary eyelids, I get an insight into what must have inspired Rubin’s words …
“Let it not be said that life was good to us, but, rather, that we were good to life.”